Last October, Chicago teachers authorized a strike after rejecting a proposed five-year contract that was backed by their union’s leaders. Anger over the contract’s length and health care costs fueled the rejection.
When you talk about parent involvement, what do you mean?
We’re talking about not simply making parents the first, best and most important teachers [of their children], but also making parents the ones who create and maintain educational standards. … Right now, especially for black and for Latino parents, other people are creating those standards and those standards are not very high, and, in fact, they’re very, very low…
A collection of facts, figures and news briefs about school reform—both in Chicago and around the country.
Does retaining kids help?
Generally, no. Retained 3rd-graders showed the same inadequate progress in reading over two years as similarly low-achieving students who, in previous years, had been promoted to the next grade.
researchers latest studies again found that holding low-achieving students back did not help them academically and increased the likelihood they would drop out. The retained students had fallen far behind their peers in the earliest years of school.
Chicago United raised money to pay for on-site classes, mentor training and candidate application fees. The program would support teachers for three years—one year to prepare for the extensive application process, a second year to undergo the process itself and a third to train successful candidates to become mentors.
On average, students who spent a year in a center made only a half-year’s progress in reading and one month’s progress in math, according to a 2003 study by the Consortium on Chicago School Research. And 80 to 85 percent dropped out by the end of 10th grade, according to the CPS Office of High School Programs.
Beethoven Elementary is a well-run school that is unusually resourceful in attracting extra supports. Even so, some of its students fail to make it through the School Board’s promotion gate.Repeating a grade gives some kids enough time to catch up while others continue to struggle. In the following examples, the children’s names have been changed to protect their privacy.
Students taught by teachers who are National Board-certified scored as much as 15 percent higher on standardized tests than students taught by teachers without Board certification, according to a study of North Carolina elementary students released in March.
Students who fail to meet minimum standards required for high school admission and are too old to remain in elementary school (age 15 by December 1) are enrolled at their regional Academic Achievement Academy.
For the last four years, Beethoven has posted test scores that topped the city average. That translates into fewer student retentions. For example in 2002, the district as a whole retained 21 percent of 3rd-graders; Beethoven retained just 10 percent
Raising the bar. The School Board raised the cutoff scores required for 8th-grade promotion to high school every year from 1997 to 2000. Pass rates were fairly stable until 1999 and then dipped.
“Ending Social Promotion: The Response of Teachers and Students”Robin Tepper Jacob, Susan Stone, Melissa Roderick
The Consortium, February 2004
Reports the results of surveys and interviews with principals and teachers on the impact of the CPS promotion policy.
The election, to be held by mail-in ballot during the first two weeks of May, offers the organization’s roughly 1,400 voting members a choice between leaders with very different styles. They can opt for someone who believes working and speaking publicly, as Berry has in recent months.
Retention, a popular strategy used by urban school districts to end social promotion, is favored by policy makers and the public despite definitive evidence that it does no good for the kids who are held back. Retained kids do not improve academically and are more likely to drop out of school.
Many students assigned to an achievement academy get angry. Zulyanna felt relieved. Having repeated both 6th and 7th grades, she was too old to stay in elementary school for 8th grade. The academy would give her the chance to skip ahead and, if she passed her classes, get into 10th grade only a year behind.
A bill now pending in the Legislature would require all high school students to take a college-prep curriculum starting in 2010, according to the April 21 Contra Costa Times. Students would have to take the minimum requirements for admission to colleges in the state university system.
Many opponents suggested the state should first pay for its proven teacher-training programs, like the Golden Apple Scholars, which Gov. Rod Blagojevich cut from his budget. Supporters are trying to restore that program’s $3.8 million funding. Blagojevich has until late July to act on the new measure.
Your article failed to mention that the trend of “council federations dotting the city” began in North Lawndale—where student and school performance lag significantly behind city and state norms. LSCs have enormous responsibilities and have the potential to make a huge impact on their schools.
The American Educational Research Association has awarded the 2004 Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to the curriculum field to William Schubert, professor and chair of curriculum and instruction in the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Education.
Chart: New CPS promotion policy for 3rd, 6th, and 8th, grades
Chart: Number of retained students rises, falls